Astros lock up the series win against the Angels

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 5-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston was able to hold on and take the series opener against the Angels on Friday night, so they turned their attention to locking up the series with a win on Saturday night. Here is a quick rundown of the middle game:

Final Score: Astros 5, Angels 2.

Record: 84-47, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wade Miley (13-4, 3.13 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Dillon Peters (3-2, 4.50 ERA).

1) Astros score five early on two homers

Houston's offense went right after Dillon Peters in the bottom of the first inning. Jose Altuve reached base on a one-out triple, then scored on a two-run homer by Michael Brantley in the next at-bat to make it a quick 2-0 Astros lead.

In the bottom of the third, Altuve made it back-to-back hits with a leadoff double, then Michael Brantley was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base. Alex Bregman took advantage, powering the second homer of the night to extend the lead to 5-0.

2) Miley goes five innings

Wade Miley meanwhile was able to record another decent outing. He retired the first nine batters he faced in order, and did not allow a hit until the top of the fourth when he gave up a leadoff single, but would still get through the inning scoreless.
Miley's first and only run allowed came in the top of the fifth, a two-out solo home run to make it a 5-1 score. He would struggle to get that last out of the inning, loading the bases with a couple of singles and a walk, but was eventually able to get out of it and strand the bases loaded.

After the long fifth inning and his pitch count rising, A.J. Hinch did not task him with going any further than the five innings of one-run baseball he provided. His final line: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

3) Houston secures the series win

With Miley shut down after his five innings, it was up to Houston's bullpen to finish the last four innings. Brad Peacock was first up, and struggled with the zone and only recorded one out before Houston moved on to Chris Devenski, who was able to finish the top of the sixth.

Joe Smith had the seventh, and despite allowing a leadoff walk which would score on an RBI-single later in the inning, was able to get through the inning with Houston still ahead 5-2. Collin McHugh took over on the mound in the eighth and was able to erase two walks to maintain the lead.

With Roberto Osuna's usage high over the last few games, he was given a break and instead Will Harris had the chance for a save. Harris was able to take advantage, throwing a scoreless frame to wrap up the 5-2 win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros and Angels will wrap up this series on Sunday with an afternoon start of 1:10 PM. Los Angeles is expected to send Jaime Barria (4-6, 6.35 ERA) to the mound while Houston announced that they would bring Framber Valdez (3-6, 5.58 ERA) back into the rotation to fill the spot of Aaron Sanchez who is on the injured list, at least for his next two starts.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Verlander is 39 years old and thriving. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Astros’ slaughtering of the lambs tour has them in Seattle for the weekend. The Mariners are a big flop thus far stumbling along at 18-27, last in the American League West. They must be delighted to draw Justin Verlander on the mound against them in the series opener. JV has already beaten the M’s twice in 2022. He threw eight shutout innings at Seattle in his second start of the season.

Thus far in his return post-Tommy John surgery Verlander has been staggeringly magnificent. He’s 6-1 with a you-have-to-be-kidding-me 1.22 earned run average. Frame of reference: Martin Maldonado is an atrocious offensive player. If he continues at his current level of playing time and performance Maldonado will finish with one of the handful of worst offensive seasons in the history of the Major Leagues. Maldonado’s on base plus slugging percentage this season is an incredibly feeble .435. The collective OPS against Justin Verlander this season is .441. So Verlander essentially is making MLB lineups look like they have Martin Maldonado batting one through nine.

This is Verlander’s third full (fingers crossed) season of pitching as an Astro. The first two produced a near miss Cy Young runner-up finish to Blake Snell in 2018 and a narrow Cy Young win over Gerrit Cole in 2019. Verlander is the early leader on the course in 2022. He is poised to overtake Roger Clemens as the best Golden Oldie pitcher in Astros’ history. One could argue he already has.

Verlander is 39 years old and thriving. The “Rocket” turns 60 in August. I bet he could still touch at least the low-80s on the radar gun. Clemens’s Astros tenure was breathtaking. It began when he was 41 years old and covered two and two thirds seasons (he chose to start his 2006 season late). In his first Astro season (2004) Clemens won his seventh Cy Young Award after going 18-4 and turning 42 years old in August. The Rocket actually should not have won the National League Cy that year. Randy Johnson was clearly the best pitcher in the league, pitching 30 more innings than Roger with an earned run average 0.38 better. But, as one of many examples of doofy Baseball Writers’ Association voting, Johnson’s 16-14 record was held against him. His 16-14 was amazing! Johnson pitched for a laughingstock Diamondbacks’ squad that finished 51-111. A smarter electorate would have awarded “The Big Unit” his sixth Cy Young Award, which would have tied Clemens for most all-time. However…

Clemens was shafted out of two Cys he should have won. Pitching for the Red Sox in 1990 “The Rocket” went 21-6 with a 1.93 ERA. Bob Welch won 27 games for a dominant Oakland team that year, but he wasn’t even the best pitcher in his own team’s rotation (Dave Stewart was) much less best in the American League. Clemens put together his 1.93 ERA while pitching his home games in hitter-friendly Fenway Park. Welch came in at 2.95 while pitching his home games at the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum. Still, blinded by the 27 wins, the voters went Welch by a comfortable margin. Welch over Clemens in 1990 is one of the lamest votes ever.

2005 wasn’t nearly as blatantly ridiculous, though Clemens’s second season in Houston was even more Astronomically good than was ’04. He was a living pitching God. In mid-August Clemens’ ERA was 1.32. One-point-three-two! It was dark comedy that season how pitiful the Astros’ offense was providing run support when Clemens was on the mound. Hence he won only 13 games despite finishing with a National League best 1.87 ERA, more than a half run better than teammate Andy Pettitte’s runner-up 2.39. Chris Carpenter won the 2005 NL Cy. He had a heckuva year for the Cardinals. He was not the best pitcher in the league. Clemens actually finished third, also behind Dontrelle Willis who would have been a better choice than Carpenter though not quite as good as Roger.

Vintage “old age” Astro pitching seasons have to include a mention of Nolan Ryan. Like 2019, 1987 was a season of juiced baseballs, home run numbers shot through the roof. So while a 2.76 ERA isn’t eye-popping, Ryan won the NL ERA title with it. Nolan was 40 through the ’87 season. Ryan’s record in ’87: 8 wins, 16 losses. Talk about non-support. Ryan finished fifth in the Cy Young voting with reliever Steve Bedrosian another dubious winner. The guy who probably should have won in ’87, or at least the guy with the highest wins above replacement (WAR) total? Bob Welch! Then with the Dodgers.

Verlander hopes to pitch well into his 40s a la Ryan and Clemens. He is 68 wins shy of 300 for his career. Logic says he doesn’t get there, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch against him.

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